Definitely Alive and still kicking
FOR a young Aussie band, Tonight Alive have amassed a vast collection of war stories. They emerged five years ago from their parents’ suburban garages as a fully formed melodic punk group and were signed to an international recording deal as teenagers.
The five-piece pursued an international touring schedule off the back of their debut album, What Are You So Scared Of, which would have burned out those with less ambition and stamina.
There were days without a decent meal, subsisting on a per diem that would probably put them below minimum wage. Then there was a management switch and frontwoman Jenna McDougall was struck down with a debilitating bout of eczema.
This year, with the release of a second record, The Other Side, their schedule isn’t any less hectic, but Tonight Alive seem happier about their lot in life.
McDougall and bandmates Whakaio Taahi, Jake Hardy, Cam Adler and Matt Best are heading home for the return of the Vans Warped festival.
Warped has proven a happy hunting ground for Tonight Alive in the US and there is a sense of pride they have been chosen for this local leg of the festival alongside Byron Bay world-beaters Parkway Drive and internationals The Offspring, Simple Plan, New Found Glory and The Used.
The tour will see them return to Coffs Harbour where they recorded The Other Side.
‘‘We had this massive house and it turned out to have the best drum room we have ever seen,’’ Taahi says.
The going got tougher when Taahi returned to the house to complete recording while his bandmates enjoyed themselves at the Soundwave festival.
‘‘The whole area was hit with the biggest monsoon and the power went out for four days,’’ he recalls.
‘‘Somehow they found a generator. We had to put petrol in it every two hours and turn the studio off so we could power the fridge.’’
McDougall attributes the shifts in sound between albums to ‘‘growing up’’.
‘‘I was 16 when we first started as a band and now I’m 21, which is a massive growing-up period for anybody,’’ she says.
‘‘The band is the only thing any of us have known in our lives so that’s why this record feels so personal.’’
While Tonight Alive are lauded in the rock scenes of Europe and the US, Taahi says maintaining momentum back home has been tough. There aren’t as many venues, festivals or radio stations dedicated to their genre as there are overseas.
‘‘Things are starting to change but it has been hard to get any kind of major support or radio play,’’ he says.
– Picture: KANE HIBBERD
‘‘Triple M just picked us up but Triple J never did. It’s tough for a young home-grown act to get heard.’’
– KATHY McCABE
The Other Side (Sony) is out now. The Offspring, Parkway Drive, Simple Plan, Tonight Alive and more play Vans Warped, at the RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane, tomorrow.
Tonight Alive celebrate their homecoming for Vans Warped.